Afrojack is currently on top of the world with the release of his #1 album, Forget the World, and the launch of his second collaboration with G-Star. The collection carries Afrojack’s symbolic ‘A’ across the 8-piece collection – including tees, tanks, a short-sleeved hoodie, cap, denim and leather pants. I caught up with Afrojack at the G-Star store in Beverly Hills in the middle of a very busy day: the LA launch of his G-Star capsule collection, followed by the shoot for his new ‘Dynamite’ music video, then closing out the night with his album launch party at Create Nightclub.
At 6’9”, the superstar Dutch DJ makes quite the entrance. Dressed in items from his collection, he looked cool and comfortable as he greeted the massive line of fans waiting to meet him. He spoke with his fans, took photographs, signed copies of Forget the World and anything they put in front of him. Even in this moment, bombarded by fans, there is an air of pride, humility, and focus that surrounds him. With Forget the Worldplaying through the speakers, the Afrojack brand was on full display.
I sat down with Afrojack to chat about his new album Forget the World, making music that crosses the generational gap, his love for cars and was also joined by Remco de Nijs, the brand manager of the G-Star Raw brand, to discuss the new capsule collection.
Congrats on having a #1 album! How does it feel?
Afrojack: It feels great! Yesterday when I found out I literally felt ten feet tall, and I have my fans to thank for that. Never, ever expected it.
What were some of your inspirations behind the Forget the World?
Daft Punk in a certain way. I saw their live shows and they always use their live shows to make their album come to life. The album is like the listening session and then the live show was like the performance session. The Alive 2007 CD is one of my favorites and that’s how I want to recreate my touring basically.
The main thing that inspired me was the title. It was really important to me that I was not thinking about what do the fans want, what does the EDM core want, what do the music critics want. I’m going to make music that I think is good.
With a title like Forget the World, it sounds like you had to shut out all of the noise. How were you able to block out the buzz from fans and critics alike when creating the album?
It’s hard but I did it before when I was 15. When I started DJ’ing people were like – ‘You’re not going to be a DJ. Who do you think you are?’. Back then I was able to shut that out and follow my heart and actually become a DJ. It taught me to really accept my life. I’d rather be alone and happy than with lots of people and unhappy and living for them. And that’s the reason the album is called Forget the World, because I want people to know it’s actually possible. Personal success comes from really following your heart and being able to share that with people. I have a message to say. I want to tell the people it’s okay to forget the world because then you will be way happier, than if you do what society tells you to do.
Do you have a favorite track on the album?
I like all of them… a lot! I honestly cannot pick one because every idea I had behind a track worked out. But I really like “Freedom.” I think it has some special magic in there. It sounds like my grandma would understand it, but its not really vocal based. It’s weird. It’s just got something special that I didn’t understand myself. I also made the track in 2 hours and it just… happened! I basically had no clue what I was thinking. I wasn’t conscious of it. Everything else, I spend a lot of time thinking, preparing, arranging. “Freedom” came when the album was finished! I was like – “STOP! Freedom! This has to be on there!”
The same thing happened with “Mexico.” I was already working on the album. I was alone in the studio and I made the instrumentals in Mexico including all the arrangements for the strings in 2 hours. Called in a writer friend of mine who has a really great voice, really emotional and we finished the track in 5 hours. Didn’t touch the track for another year and a half until we went in to the studio to record with a real 26 piece orchestra.
Can you share anything about the new "Dynamite" music video?
Snoop Dogg will be in it. A lot of girls. A lot of party people. When it comes to my shit, it’s my shit. The way I see it is something like ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’… only a party! It’s gonna be dope.
Do you foresee a Forget the World tour?
This is probably the last year that I’m going to be touring on a DJ schedule. I don’t want to be dependent on promoters and club sound systems. I’m just going to do my own production, rent a house, and make it a party. That way I have full control. There’s nothing better than throwing your own parties because then you can tell the security to be nice. That’s my plan. Get nice security, nice bar. Have everything working together to create more than just a DJ set but actually create a show.
Let’s talk a little bit about your new collaboration with G-Star. Did you set out with a particular vision for the collection or did it just sort of come organically?
Remco: He was completely involved in it. Tomas, Nick’s manager, brought us together. It first started by making a pair of pants for Nick. Then he had some unique wishes so we made some special items. Then we made more special items. Then at the end, we said to each other, ‘We have to make a capsule collection.’ We are so linked to each other – DNA-wise. We have such a clear vision of what we want with our product. So our first capsule collection was when Nick was hosting the MTV Awards in Amsterdam. Then it grew with Hakkasan. We had all the creative teams come together for one event. So it’s not just about the capsule collection. It’s more like all of the talents of G Star and all the talents of Nick are integrated together and we make this beautiful process that started in Amsterdam and now we are here!
Afrojack: It was never intended to be this. This is like the “Freedom” track. Everything was organic. It was not planned. It’s just funny how it worked out.
Remco: Everybody just felt so comfortable because he’s coming up to the office and everyone knows him. Everything was so easy.
Do you find any overlap in the creative process when it comes to music and fashion?
Afrojack: Well the most important thing for me with fashion is I like creating stuff. As a kid, I used to play with Legos. I’d build something then break it down and start again. For me, being able to have that freedom with G Star is great. With music, people always have a certain visual. If you hear a song, you can imagine something. For me, imagining Afrojack – this is how I wanted it to look.
Remco: And we both stand for innovation. Everything has to be credible. It stands for craftsmanship. It’s clean. And also the name RAW, it stands for pure.
Afrojack: Yeah, I think that’s the basic reason the brands work so well together because G Star represents what I represent. If you know me, you know it’s the truth. It’s raw. It’s me. We both bring something new and creative to the table. We’d rather take a risk and do something new than do what everyone else is doing.
To see more on the G-Star x Afrojack collaboration, check out the launch video!
Pick up your copy of Forget the World today on iTunes!